The United States increased pressure on India because of its relations with Russia

American experts doubt that Washington will be able to “win over” Delhi to its side

In an attempt to put together a global anti-Russian alliance, Washington is increasing pressure on countries that refuse to join sanctions against Russia because of Ukrainian crisis. One of the targets of these efforts was India, which the United States is trying to draw into a confrontation with Moscow.

Photo: Global Look Press

India has largely refrained from being harsh on the conflict in Ukraine, avoiding loud condemnation of Russia's actions. At the same time, US officials have expressed concern that India and China appear to be behind the scenes helping Moscow to ease the burden of tough economic sanctions imposed by the West, for example, by buying 40 million tons of Russian coal in October 2021 and buying 12 million barrels of crude oil from Russia throughout the year.

At the same time, according to American experts in the field of economics and defense, India's apparent developing relationship with Russia is associated with economic opportunities, and not with a strategic alliance, according to the American Fox News channel.

“I don’t think they want to help Russia with its campaign in Ukraine,” political scientist Jeff Smith described New Delhi’s motives in a Fox News Digital commentary. “What they might be interested in is getting a rebate on oil from Russia at a time when inflation is high—I think they will probably use opportunities to do that.”

Any business between Delhi and Moscow are being contacted by an American expert about India's chances to profit from cheaper energy, which is necessary for an emerging industrial power.

“I think India has done a pretty good job in the past of making sure it doesn’t violate any direct U.S. sanctions, and I suspect they will continue to do so now,” Smith said, noting that Russia accounts for only about 2% of India's energy imports. “In 2021, they exported $3.3 billion worth of goods to Russia, they exported $71 billion worth of goods to us.”

As Fox News admits, Russia managed to stabilize the ruble after a strong initial shock from the sanctions, but is having difficulty doing business with foreign partners who have contracts to buy oil and gas for at least some of the dollars after the U.S. freeze any such assets. So India jumped at the opportunity to buy oil at a lower price through some ingenious rupee-ruble exchange mechanisms.

But the US has spent a lot of time developing a relationship with India that neither country wants to jeopardize, Fox News notes. India's strong navy and opposition to China's regional ambitions, which in recent years has culminated in occasional brief border skirmishes, have made New Delhi a vital US partner in the region.

Despite this constant movement forward and back on Ukraine, Russia, and India's position, I do think there is a strong and correct view that India is part of the strategic equation in regards to our goals in the Indo-Pacific,” James Anderson, a former Undersecretary of Defense for Policy under the Trump Administration.

Anderson explained that since the administration of President George W. Bush, the US has been working to improve relations with Delhi and develop a significant strategic partnership. India's capabilities can unbalance China in any potential conflict in the region, which is in the hands of the Americans.

“I think this is something that needs to be promoted at all levels – diplomatic, economic, and also at the level of military assistance Anderson emphasized. “They are a natural partner for the United States…we have worked very hard through several administrations to rid them of dependence on Russian weapons systems, and that is much easier said than done, but progress has been made in this regard.”

“These efforts to advance this strategic partnership…there are some twists and turns here, but overall the trajectory is pretty good,” the American expert added. “But it’s not something that can be forced and we can’t expect India to support us 100% – they will make their own decisions, and this partly explains their behavior towards Russia.


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